Territory government debt blows out: Elferink.

The Henderson Government is about to embark on a period of sustained spending which will hugely increase our debt burden and be a legacy all Territorians will have to pay, says Shadow Treasurer, John Elferink.

“Figures published in the Treasurer’s Annual Financial report show a significant blow-out in spending while the Territory’s earnings remain relatively unchanged.

“It was a scenario the Government described in 2001 as an ‘untenable situation’, but which they’re happy to sustain when it suits them,” says Mr Elferink.

“In 2004-05 – on the back of surging GST revenues – net debt was $3.146 billion and income was $3.062 billion which meant the economy was paying its way.

“By the Government’s own projections in 2014-15, net debt plus superannuation liabilities will be $7.269 billion, way ahead of earnings estimated by Treasury at $5.251 billion.

“The Government puts this down to the spending required to avoid the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, but the seeds for this scenario were sown years ago when Labor failed to save some of the hundreds-of-millions it received courtesy of the GST,” Mr Elferink said.

“When the GFC kicked in and the rivers of gold dried up, Labor hit the credit card with a vengeance.

“By 2014-15, annual interest payments to service that debt will be around $110 million for the General Government Sector and $335 million if you include Government Owned Corporations such as PowerWater.

“The Territory’s net debt to income ratio will be 63% by 2014-15, the worst result in our history. If you factor in superannuation debt as shown in the attached graph, that debt is 138%.

“That sort of money could be used to recruit significantly more police, nurses, teachers and doctors as well as build about eight new schools.”

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